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Global Cornell Web Standards

There are six Global Cornell websites representing centers, programs, services, and initiatives that collectively and individually showcase our commitment to global engagement. Each website has joint management responsibilities shared by the site owners and the communications team. Development for these Drupal sites is managed by CIT with direction from communications. Content on the sites is maintained by designated content owners and contributors throughout the organization with support from communications.

All sites in the Global Cornell portfolio:

  • promote and support Cornell’s view of the world as diverse, inclusive, and connected
  • are focused on the user experience creating long term relationships and return visits
  • ensure accuracy and timeliness of information
  • meet accessibility and security standards
  • show the interconnectedness of the Global Cornell portfolio
  • enhance Global Cornell’s reputation as campus collaborators and thought leaders

Guidelines and Policies

Usability is critical, both content and design are created with the needs of our audiences in mind including clear and usable contact information.

Our websites are responsive across multiple devices, including computers, tablets, and smartphones.

All web pages should be compliant with Cornell’s accessibility standards, which match W3C Accessibility Standards 2.0, AA. 

Each office/site is responsible for appointing a content contributor and a content owner who makes updates on the site.

Web development projects will be prioritized based on the needs of the organizations and the workload of the communication team.

New pages should be created in consultation with the comm team

Share the Global Cornell brand in the footer. We’re stronger together. 

Some Specifics

PDF Uploads

PDF documents should be avoided whenever possible because they are not responsive and therefore are hard to read on phones and are problematic for screen readers. Consider creating an HTML page instead of posting a PDF. All PDFs must go through an accessibility check before they can be posted. 


  • Follow Chicago Manual of Style rules
  • Do not post any copyrighted material (videos, text, images, graphics, etc.) in any form unless permission from the original copyright owner is explicitly granted.
  • All content on the website must be reviewed annually. Evergreen content must be reviewed by content owners for continued accuracy, and dated content must be updated or removed.
  • Optimize text to conform to best practices for web writing, which is different than standards for print writing:
    • Keep it brief, short sentences work best. If the topic warrants publish summary information on a parent page and link to a child page with more in-depth information.
    • Make information easy to find, people come to a webpage with a goal in mind.
    • Keep the most important information at the top of the page
    • Make text scannable by using subheads, bulleted lists, and bolding important words.
    • Use keywords that will help the page show up in search results.
    • Match link labels to the title of the page to which it is linking.
    • Keep your web pages up to date.

Video and Images

  • All videos posted on a site must have closed captions and a transcript.
  • Obtain a signed consent form when taking pictures of students in places that are not considered public. 
  • To meet accessibility standards, images that contain more than 75 characters of text should not be uploaded to any of the unit's websites.
  • All uploaded images require alt tags. 

Links and Spelling

  • Links are considered a type of content.
  • Links must relate to the purpose of the web page.
  • All email addresses should be hyperlinked.
  • Content contributors should use Siteimprove QA reports to monitor for broken links and misspellings and make any needed updates within a week.


Code has been added to all sites that tracks analytics, contact the communication team for details.

September 1, 2020